Strategy for the 21st Century 

Christians in 21st Century North America must understand the necessary shifts in strategy to bring the Gospel to our changing culture--and the opportunities, as well. 

Part of thinking Christian is to consider how to approach the world with the claims of Jesus Christ. His message is timeless and unchanging, but approaches are not. Missionaries learn that they must both translate their message and adapt their presentation so that new cultures can understand and appreciate the Gospel. In North American culture, which is the focus of the strategy discussions here, the same thing is needed now.

North America was once largely a Christian culture; it is no more. It is still highly influenced by Christian heritage and there are still a large number of Christians here, but Biblical thinking no longer prevails. The chief evidence of that is in the new definition of virtue, which is that one should accept all others' beliefs and behaviors regardless of what they may be; and (related to that) the new definition of truth, which is that it is a matter of personal choice. Our culture generally holds that truth is not discovered, it is created by the individual.

Our culture is changing in its diversity as well. North America has always been a haven for immigrants, but it was once considered a "melting pot" where differences would ultimately vanish into one homogeneous American alloy. This is no longer the dream (and it was really never as good an idea as it was thought to be). Now there are hundreds of different languages spoken in our big cities' schools. Now there are hundreds of new philosophies, religions, and social cultures.

Because of changes like this, we must express (translate) the Gospel differently for our diverse cultures than our grandmothers and grandfathers might have. This is nothing new, from a global perspective: the Gospel has always confronted contrary belief systems, and it has shown itself strong. It is a new thing, though, in North America, so we need to be thoughtful about how we address our varied cultures.

This may sound daunting, but there's a world of opportunity here. It's a great day to be serving God! 

Posted: Sun - October 31, 2004 at 08:16 PM           |

© 2004-2007 by Tom Gilson. Permission is granted to quote up to two paragraphs of any blog entry, provided that a link back to the original is included or (in print) the website address is provided. Please email me regarding longer quotes. All other rights reserved.

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